Getting the point

One of the most interesting storylines around the Hawaii men’s basketball team all season will be point guard play.

Jace Tavita has assumed the mantle of the starter after coming in from Utah nearly two years ago and redshirting since that time. Barring something drastic, he’ll get the bulk of the time at the position.

But you can’t, obviously, have him responsible for all 40 minutes every game of the season. With no other traditional point guards on the roster (not including Keith Shamburger, who must redshirt this year), a couple of interesting scenarios are in play.

True freshman Manroop Clair is young, but coach Gib Arnold credited him with his strongest practice yet after Sunday’s four-hour session at Klum Gym. He could see time behind Tavita if he develops and earns the trust of the coaching staff.

There’s also true freshman Ozren Pavlovic, who’s played some version of point guard in the past. I think if Arnold had a choice here, though, he’d keep him as more of a scoring option.

Junior Brandon Spearman is a combo guard, so by definition he has elements of a point guard to his game, and it’s likely he will assume some ball-handling duties in stretches, especially against pressing teams.

And no, don’t expect a miracle point guard to fall into the team’s lap ala Miah Ostrowski. Or Shaquille Stokes changing his mind to come back from Hofstra.

Another possible solution is on the table. It may come as a surprise, but junior guard/defensive stopper Garrett Jefferson is being groomed as a backup point guard … at least in these early practices.

Arnold touched upon the options.

“Obviously Manroop’s gotta share that load with (Jace). And we’re working with Jefferson in there. It’s a way to get Garrett into the game, and he’s such a good defender. Defensively that helps us because he’d be guarding the point guard, and taking out the point guard on defense. Offensively, he’s never played that before, so it’s just something we gotta keep teaching him. I think he’s a little more comfortable than he has been. He’s played exclusively point for us since we started practice.

“We’re giving him a lot of reps now,” Arnold continued. “Now come game time, whether we play him there a little or a lot, is still to be determined. But it’s a good way to get him into the game planning. Point guard controls tempo both offensively and defensively. (Jefferson) controls tempo defensively as good as anybody I’ve coached. Now we just need to work with him offensively. And he’s trying hard and is going to do OK. Ozi Pavlovic is a guy who’s played point in the past. Same deal. We have to work with him on some things.”

So, there’s no perfect solution to the point guard situation. We’ll just have to see how close to perfect the Rainbow Warriors can get things by Nov. 9.

I’d give a personal assessment of progress at the position by Jefferson and the others, but so far practices have been closed to the media. Arnold said today they’d be open again after the coming weekend. Look for more detailed reports at that point.


  1. papajoe2 October 14, 2012 10:23 pm

    Just saw Inside Weekend on KHON after the 10:00 news about a Gavin Smith. Is that the former Rainbow? He disappeared mysteriously, leaving a wife and 3 sons.

  2. al October 14, 2012 11:54 pm

    yes it is. he’s been awol for months now.

  3. ALLAN October 15, 2012 12:08 am


  4. Derek October 15, 2012 10:34 am

    Manroop is a high scoring guard and he can dish it out too. Just look at his film. Trust your eyes. He has a deadly cross over to the left and he lets it fly, but he can go right too and he can take it to the hole too. Whether he is a point guard or shooting guard it doesn’t matter. He will score, either way. He needs to improve on his D, but I’m sure he’s putting in the work. Get start to remember #33. I don’t think he will be redshirting.

  5. Bowwar October 15, 2012 12:55 pm

    We surely miss the potential of Shaq Stokes though…

    I remember Gavin Smith from his days at UH…Had a beautiful sheep dog as a pet that he used to bring along with him.

  6. poorboy October 15, 2012 1:13 pm

    For all 15 available guys, what is good for them? Nothing is a given, all positions up for grabs at this point(especially since Vander working really hard rehabbing to get ready). So , UH MBB equal opportunity situation. Whomever works hardest, follows coaching direction, if it is PG by committee or situational, really the whole team from wings to bigs, have responsibiltiy to help whomever the PG, even if it were Steve Nash or John Stockon or Magic Johnson, ..the whole team moves and works together, to run O and D systems..

    then not as much pressure on ONE guy the PG..howver true, we have seen how a Tom Henderson, Reggie Carter, AC Carter could take over a game,,however, the young guys we have now have to step it up, and you know Brian it is JMO..I think whether, Jace, Manroop, or Jefferson..there is just something about the way this team was put together ,

    High Character, No Prima Donnas, ego trippers..they are going to get it done, and hopefully have a fun in post season come March..!! Get well soon Vander!!

  7. jcole October 16, 2012 4:59 am

    Only after a half season or so can we tell about egos vis-a-vis playing time. Ego is important during time outs as well. I hope this year’s team takes game-time advice better than last year’s.

  8. K-Bay October 16, 2012 7:21 am

    Oz has always been an intriguing prospect at point forward; like an amped up Trevor Wiseman (who led some of the fastest breaks last year) with 50% more Range And Accuracy…Forewarned is Forearmed…

    Earlier Reports included Michael Harper working to acquire sufficient point guard skills, presumably handles & passing…

    Has this switched off with Garett Jefferson, maybe in favor of MH’s speed and shooting at the two,
    OR is Harper still working to earn his way into the pg mix?

    AND any prospectus for pg minutes for Dyrbe Enos?
    i suspect he can be more than a mop-up, spot-duty player, even a five-minute respite for Jace or Manroop with instant offense/firepower versus Jefferson’s Instant Defense Option…

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